There’s no doubt that we are experiencing some trying economic times. Gas prices climb to astronomical numbers (the lowest I ever remember was $.59 – I guess I’m old), milk prices are rising and…well, what prices aren’t skyrocketing? It’s during these times that the pressure to provide also grows, and the work-life balancing act that parents must perform daily becomes more complicated and treacherous.
I’ve been lucky to be busy during the economic “downturn” (or have we gone well beyond trying to couch this recession in such gentle connotation?). But, it’s meant that I’ve been traveling a ton. Each of these trips brings a big sense of anxiety. On the one hand, I know that these trips are important, but on the other hand, I never wanted to be traveling-dad-guy. I always wondered how “those dads” could handle being away from home so much – away from their families and kids. I hate telling K-Man that I’m going to be gone for a day, two or three, and that I won’t be home in the morning to get him ready for school. It truly rips my heart out.
But I also know that each of these trips means that I’m helping provide for K-Man and his future. I know that there are these sacrifices that sometimes need to be made, and if I miss a day or two here and there – he’ll be okay. I know that he’ll always be happy to see me when I get home, and I also know that I’ll never schedule any kind of trip that requires me to miss something important to him. (Which, personally, is key.)
I’m also not the world’s happiest flyer. So, on most (all!) takeoffs and landings, I find myself reflecting with a little prayer. On takeoffs, I usually ask that the plane be delivered safely and that all the passengers – particularly the little ones – have the opportunity to see their dreams become a reality. On landings, I’m grateful and thankful. With each of these takeoffs and landings, I’m reminded that amidst the chaos, we (okay, I) have the opportunity to try again and strive to do the very best we can.
I don’t know if sitting on a plane is a weird or obvious place to get introspective. Maybe it’s obvious – since at that time, I’m usually away from “my center” and, in many cases, am faced with many other families and kids who are together. On the other hand…well, maybe it is just obvious. It never fails, however, that as soon as we hit the tarmac, introspection sets in. Along with those prayers of hope and safe passage.
Yes, the world is a strange, somewhat unrecognizable place right now. And, yes, I hate leaving on all of these business trips. But I also know that I’m doing it all for the right reasons. I know that in order for me to provide, these trips are necessary. I certainly miss all that is home (even my business partner!), but I know that someday, on a flight somewhere, some other dad might be sending thoughts to the kids on a plane that they find their way and achieve to their life’s desire. And, maybe, K-Man will be on one of those planes. So…it’s all worth it.